Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Another Day Begins




A moment on Squire’s Isle, the morning after the 2016 Presidential election.

Patricia Hood-Colby woke up in the mayor’s residence, gifted four more years of serving the island she called home. She couldn’t find the strength to be happy or relieved about the news, couldn’t celebrate the relatively easy victory she’d won because of everything that had been lost at the same time. She looked over at the sleeping form of her wife. She’d stayed up late grading papers only to fall asleep in tears at three in the morning. She straightened the collar of Jill’s T-shirt and slipped out of bed as carefully as she could. Jill would have to be at school in a little over two hours, and Patricia didn’t want to wake her any earlier than absolutely necessary.

She went to the bathroom and slipped down the hall to check on Isabel. Their precious little girl was asleep in her relatively new toddler bed. They kept the crib for a few months to help her make the transition, but now she was sleeping in the big bed more nights than not. She bent over the bed and smoothed down the twists and flares of Isabel’s pale brown hair. The girl stirred without waking and Patricia risked kissing her forehead. She let her lips linger on the impossibly vulnerable skin, smelling the shampoo they’d used to wash her hair the night before.

Patricia went downstairs and started a pot of coffee. The living room floor was littered with plastic blocks, a big wheel tricycle that actually wasn’t supposed to be in the house, dolls, and other assorted toys that no one had the energy to clean up. They’d already hung the streamers for Isabel’s third birthday party, which would take place on Saturday. Isabel wanted a whole birthday week, cookies after dinner instead of one big cake, so they would have their third mini-celebration that night. On the weekend, kids she knew from the park and day care would descend on the house for a party that Patricia had no spirit to host. But she would do it, because it was the first birthday Isabel was really old enough to appreciate and there was no way she’d let the real world spoil that.

She sighed when she saw it but went to the front window. The house had been built so its front window looked out over the town. There were boats in the harbor, and the sun was just beginning to reflect off the windows on Spring Street. There were a few cars on the street but mostly the town seemed to be sleeping off their worst hangover in recent memory.

She heard footsteps on the stairs and looked over her shoulder to watch Jill descend. “Hi.”

“Hi.” Jill tried to manage a smile, but it didn’t look convincing. “Congratulations.”

Patricia’s smile was weak as well. “Yeah. Thanks.”

Jill went into the kitchen. After a moment, Patricia followed her. Jill was at the counter watching the coffee pot, waiting for it to be ready. Patricia wrapped both arms around her waist, pulled her close, and rested her chin on Jill’s shoulder.

“Tighter than that,” Jill said. Patricia moved her hands up to Jill’s stomach and squeezed. Jill reached up and touched Patricia’s hair. “Tell me it’s going to be okay.”

“I want nothing more than to say that,” Patricia said. “I can promise that I’ll be here for you. That I’ll love you through whatever happens. Is that enough?”

Jill said, “It always has been before. Maybe I can have a little extra…? Just for a little while?”

Patricia said, “Every drop I can muster up is yours.”

“Thank you.”

Patricia kissed Jill’s neck. The coffee finished, and Jill poured each of them a cup. They took them into the den. Jill turned the radio on low just to keep away the silence. Patricia sat down on the couch and let Jill curl up against her. She closed her eyes and rubbed Jill’s back, smelling the coffee more than actually drinking it, listening to Bowie play on KELF. When the song faded out, a familiar and unexpected voice came out of the speakers.

“Hi, everybody. This is Nadine Powell, the Pixie. I’m not saying ‘good morning’ because… well, it’s not. It’s a pretty bad morning for a lot of people. I also used to go by my maiden name when I’m at work because Nadine Butler was my brand, but not anymore. Nadine Powell is who I am. I’m a wife, and I’m scared. I know a lot of you probably are, too. But I wanted to get on the air early so I could talk to everyone out there. I want you all to look out your windows and see what’s happening. See that? It’s another day. It just started. It might be bad. It might be hard to get through, and it might be tragic, because something big just changed.

“But I want you to know what didn’t change. Me. You. Amy Warren and her partners. Mayor Hood-Colby and her wife. We’re the same people we were yesterday and last year and we’ve not given up ground. We’re not going to let injustices lie. We’re not going to let anyone take away what we’ve gained without a fight. Keep doing what you’ve been doing. Stand up. Protest. Call your senators and your congressmen and let them know that you’re not going to start being quiet just because the other guy got loud. We see their ugliness, their racism, their misogyny, and their hatred and we’re not going to let them think it’s okay.

“I’m going to be coming back throughout the day. People are going to be coming to the island, they’re going to look at the beautiful world around them, and they’re going to hear me saying that we are a community. We love each other. We respect each other. We’re not going to let anyone in our community get bullied because goddamn it, the bullies have gotten away with too much already. And I’m probably going to get fined for cursing, but I don’t care. We’ve got to stop worrying about being polite and stand up for ourselves.

“The phone lines are open if you want to call and talk. Like I said, I’m going to be here all day. We’re here and we’re listening. I’m Nadine Powell. This is KELF, this is Squire’s Isle, you’re you. With everything that changed last night, those are facts that can’t be taken away. Stay with us.”

Jill sat up and kissed Patricia’s lips. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“I’m going to go wake up Isabel. Get her ready for day care.”

Patricia nodded and watched her go. After a moment she got up and followed, deciding that part of Isabel’s birthday week could be spending the day at the office with Mommy.

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